Carmakers, especially those with manufacturing operations in Europe, are suspending manufacturing activities as the COVID-19 virus spreads across the globe.
Fiat Chrysler shuts most European plants
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is stopping production at most of its European plants until March 27, following the latest COVID-19 developments. Fiat and Maserati production will stop over the next two weeks at FCA’s Italian plants in Melfi, Pomigliano, Cassino, Mirafiori, Grugliasco, and Modena, FCA said in a press statement.
The company’s factories in Kragujevac, Serbia, and Tychy, Poland, will also close, according to the automaker. The temporary pause will allow the group to adjust supply in response to the market demand interruption, FCA indicated. The carmaker also said the stoppage would help it prepare for prompt resumption of activity once market conditions permit.
FCA is working with its supply base and business associates to be prepared for allowing manufacturing processes to deliver planned production levels, despite the interruption, when market demand returns. The company’s Italian plants comprise more than 65pc of its European production and 18pc of its global production, according to media reports.
FCA’s stoppage follows Ferrari’s decision to close its two Italian plants until March 27, in response to COVID-19. Lamborghini has also closed its plant near Bologna, Italy until March 25, according to reports.
Italy has been stricken the most (in Europe) by COVID-19 and is the first European county to enforce a nationwide lockdown which was also done in Spain and France, to an extent.
Ford to shut Spanish plant for one week
Ford is closing its Spanish plant in eastern Valencia, Spain, for one week beginning March 16, after three workers tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, according to media reports. The three positive cases of COVID-19 have occurred within a 24-hour period and per procedure, employees in contact with those infected are to be quarantined, a company spokesperson said. The plant is one of Ford’s largest outside the US and employs more than 7,000 workers and produces more than 400,000 vehicles per year.
Volkswagen shuts Chattanooga plant
Volkswagen is closing its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee on March 16, for a day, to allow employees to make arrangements following school closings, and so that the plant can take preventative measures to sanitize and thoroughly clean the facility, according the media reports. The carmaker will provide paid time-off to employees so that they can evaluate childcare needs and manage preparations. The European vehicle manufacturer is continually evaluating its plan for employees, the community, and the business in view of the rapid changes occurring with COVID-19, according to a VW spokesperson.